Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Emilio Aguinaldo

Emilio Aguinaldo was born on March 22, 1869 in the town of Kawit in Cavite, on Luzon in the Spanish colony of the Philippines, the seventh child of the mayor of the town. At the age of 15, with the sponsorship of a Jesuit priest who was impressed with young Emilio's great intelligence, he enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, where he studied medicine.

Aguinaldo returned to his native Cavite and helped lead an uprising that for a while drove the Spanish from the region. As part of a negotiated settlement Aguinaldo went into exile to Hong Kong in 1888. There he studied British military tactics and accumulated arms, and returned in secret to Cavite a few years later.

In 1895 Aguinaldo joined the Katipunan brotherhood, a secret organization then led by Andrés Bonifacio, dedicated to the expulsion of the Spanish and independence for the Philippines. Along with Andres Bonifacio, he began a war against the Spanish in 1896, and took over leadership of the movement after a dispute with Bonifacio whom he ordered captured and executed. Spain fought the rebellion both by military force and bribery of rebel leaders, Aguinaldo took the money offered but instead of returning to exile used it to buy more arms for the Filipino revolutionists.

In 1898 the Spanish-American War started and Aguinaldo contacted American officials in hopes that they would aid in his struggle for independence. He at first received mixed signals, but fought in alliance with the Americans to oust the Spanish, including turning over 15,000 captured Spanish troops over to Admiral Dewey. However relations with the Americans became increasingly strained when they showed no desire to recognize Philippine independence and sovereignty, and began occupying the country as the Spanish had. On his own Aguinaldo declared Philippine independence on June 12, 1898, and the Philippine Constitutional Convention elected him President on January 1, 1899. After fighting broke out between American troops and pro-independence Filipinos, Aguinaldo declared war on the United States on February 4, 1899. The shooting of a Filipino national on the San Juan bridge is considered the beginning of the Philippine-American War.

Aguinaldo led resistance to the American occupation until he was captured in 1901 by US General Frederick Funston. He accepted an offer that his life would be spared if he pledged allegiance to the United States. Aguinaldo then retired from public life for many years, until 1935 when he announced he was a candidate for the new office of President of the Commonwealth of the Philippines; he lost the election to fiery Spanish mestizo Manuel L. Quezon.

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II Aguinaldo made infamous radio addresses in support of the Japanese. After the Americans retook the Philippines he was arrested as a collaborator, but in trial it was determined that his broadcasts were made under great duress (the Japanese had threatened to murder his entire family), and his name was cleared. He lived to see his lifelong goal of independence for his nation achieved in 1946, and in 1950 served a term in the Council of State before returning to retirement. In his final years he spoke in favor of greater democracy in the country. He died in Manila in 1964.

Andres Bonifacio

Andres Bonifacio (1863-1897) was the foremost Philippine revolutionary who organized the KKKAnB which spearheaded the 1896 Revolution against Spain.

Andres Bonifacio was born to Santiago Bonifacio and Catalina de Castro, a Spanish mestiza in Tondo, manila on November 30, 1863. He started his early education in the school of Guillermo Osmeña of Cebu. He reached only primary school. At the age of 14, his father and mother died, forcing him to quit his studies and to look after his younger brothers and sisters. As a means of support, he had them help him make wooden canes and paper fans, which he sold in the streets.

Having learned how to read and write, he became a clerk messenger of Fleming and Company, a business firm dealing with rattan, tar, and other articles of trade. Because of his industry he was promoted as agent. But his earning were still not sufficient to support the orphans. He moved to Fressell and Company as an agent. He showed determination and industry in his job. He supplemented his education through further reading and self-study. He wrote poetry and even became a stage actor in moro-moro. He later became a mason and a sworn enemy of Spanish authorities.

He became a member of La Liga Filipina, an organization founded by Jose Rizal upon his return from Europe. But when Rizal was deported to Dapitan making the Liga practically dead as an organization, he quickly organized the Kataastaasang Kagalanggalangang Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan.This organization spread rapidly in 1894 in many parts of the Philippines. He felt that he was about ready to lead a successful revolt in May 1896. However, before he could act, the Katipunan was discovered by the authorities. More than 1,000 Katipuneros assembled with him at Pugad Lawin, Caloocan, on August 23, 1896 and tore their cedulas. Since the time the Katipunan was discovered, they evaded arrest, won uncertain victories and incurred severe defeats. This prompted the Magdiwang faction to invite Bonifacio to Cavite to settle their differences and remain united.

was called at Tejeros, Cavite. Bonifacio presided the conference to establish the Republic of the Philippines. In the election, Emilio Aguinaldo was elected President, Mariano Trias, Vice-President and Bonifacio as Secretary of the Interior. Daniel Tirona questioned Bonifacio's qualifications, and Bonifacio was offended. Evoking his authority as the supreme head of the Katipunan, he declared the proceedings void. Bonifacio moved to Naic, Cavite and started to form his own government and army. Meantime, the advancing troops of Spanish General Camilo de Polavia threatened to capture Cavite. Aguinaldo ordered Gen Pio del Pilar and Noriel who were being given new higher positions to leave the Bonifacio camp and go back to their duties.

Bonifacio with his family and men left Naic for Indang. On his return from Montalban, Aguinaldo sent men to arrest him, but Bonifacio resisted arrest and was wounded. He faced a trial for acts inimical to the existence of the new government and was given the death sentence by a military tribunal.

Aguinaldo's men executed him in the mountains of Maragondon, Cavite on May 10, 1897.

Dr. Jose P. Rizal

José Rizal (full name: José Protacio Mercado Rizal Alonso y Realonda) (June 19, 1861December 30, 1896), was a Filipino polymath, nationalist and the most prominent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era and its eventual independence from Spain. He is considered a national hero and the anniversary of Rizal's death is commemorated as a Philippine holiday called Rizal Day. Rizal's 1896 military trial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution.

The seventh of eleven children born to a middle class family in the town of Calamba, Laguna, Rizal attended the Ateneo Municipal de Manila, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree sobresaliente. He enrolled in the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Philosophy and Letters, and then traveled alone to Madrid, Spain where he studied medicine at the Universidad Central de Madrid, earning the degree of Licentiate in Medicine. He attended the University of Paris and earned a second doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. Rizal was a polyglot conversant in at least ten languages.He was a prolific poet, essayist, diarist, correspondent, and novelist whose most famous works were his two novels, Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo. These are social commentaries on the Philippines that formed the nucleus of literature that inspired dissent among peaceful reformists and spurred the militancy of armed revolutionaries against 333 years of Spanish rule.

a political figure, Rizal was the founder of La Liga Filipina, a civic organization that subsequently gave birth to the Katipunan led by Bonifacio and Aguinaldo. He was a proponent of institutional reforms by peaceful means rather than by violent revolution. The general consensus among Rizal scholars, however, attributed his martyred death as the catalyst that precipitated the Philippine Revolution.